blogging

The big book question

Maybe you know the situation. You’re filling out an application or participate in a contest and then there it suddenly is: The big book question. Right in the middle of all the questions which are rather easy to answer or to navigate around, there’s this one question that’s even more troublesome than “Where do you see yourself in five years?”.

And here it is, the trickiest of all tricky questions (drum roll):

“What’s the title of the last book you read?”

Is it just me who’s totally stressing out about this one? At first, it seems pretty standard and easy to answer, I’d even say innocent. However, it’s basically what my worst interview nightmares are about. And I wish I was exaggerating here. – Well, I’m not.

See, this supposedly easy question says way more about a person than one might imagine. That’s why I’m never sure how to answer it. Of course, I could be honest and say that for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reading EVERYTHING Sophie Kinsella has ever written. But what would that say about me? Honestly, I love Sophie Kinsella, so I really don’t want to discredit her work or judge anyone for reading her books. Regardless of that, I (meaning: that’s my problem, don’t care about what I’m saying) have the feeling that if I admit to that, I’ll be considered pretty basic. I mean, I am, but I don’t want it to be that obvious. So which book can I mention?

Something written by Oscar Wilde? Nah. I mean, he’s brilliant and I will probably never stop fangirling over his amazing work that is just unparalleled. Nevertheless, I don’t want anyone to think that I’m a part of the crowd that’s not even able to correctly match his quotes to the texts they’re originating from. Also, when I went to Père Lachaise and saw what “fans” had done to his resting place, I immediately knew that I would never want to be considered one of them. That’s why I usually never talk about how much I love Oscar Wilde in public.

Ok, how about some classical literature then? Pfffff. The worst. Classical literature is the one that makes you sound the most pretentious. Even if you genuinely enjoy reading it, my personal impression is that – if I don’t want people to roll their eyes at me – it’s somehow better not to mention it. I mean let’s imagine someone asks you about your favorite book and you say “I’m just in love with Goethe’s Faust, part II”. (Or just Faust for that matter.)  I’m sorry, but it’s quite unlikely that demography will be on your side here – unless you’re at a party for German philologists, maybe. What’s more probable is that this statement will be considered as pretentious, and that no one cares that the plot is actually still relevant, even today. Same goes for anything existentialist. In an era where we’re watching future brides making a big deal of having to face the huuuuuuge decision whether to go with a sleeveless or a halterneck dress on TV, it’s quite challenging to make sure that the person who’s asking the book question will relate to Meursaults angst in Albert Camus’ L’Etranger, for example.

So what’s left to quote? I actually don’t know. Of course, this teeny tiny overview is far away from being even remotely representative of all the great literature out there. But since we’re here, why not quote comics/ graphic novels like Persepolis or Maus? Would it be smart to mention these? I’m pretty sure that quite a few people have read and also enjoyed them I feel like basically everyone has read them, which might be cool for getting a conversation going.

But since I’m super self-conscious when it comes to mentioning books I like, I also want to be extremely sure that I’m not quoting something super mainstream. That’s why I usually name Cakes and Ale; or: The Skeleton in the Cupboard by William Somerset Maugham. (Btw, I can recommend ANYTHING written by him, his work is just amazing.) And then, an awesome book I just recently discovered and will definitely quote next time the book question comes up: When to Rob a Bank by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. I haven’t even read that much of it, yet, but I’m already hooked.

So that’s it, that’s my answer. Let me know if you have any great titles to recommend or tell me what kind of question you fear the most in an interview (or in general).

 

 

 

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blogging

Frustration

Sometimes, I wonder what I should and shouldn’t post. Everything I publish here can be read by anyone. But since it’s sort of an online diary (I don’t care how corny that sounds) which I’m mostly writing for myself, I don’t feel like sticking to my schedule and write the post I’ve been wanting to write in the first place. However, it’ll be here in a couple of days.

So instead of talking about what I originally intended to, this will be a tad more personal (though not about my sex life, if that’s what you gathered from the title). However, I will talk about creative frustration. There may be another article which will be about feeling frustrated in my job or whatever I’m doing at the moment, but that’s not it. Today, I’m going to write about my very own writer’s block/ lack of creativity.

If you expect any tips on how to overcome writer’s block, please go look it up somewhere else – if I knew how to get out of it, I wouldn’t write silly posts like this.

But, for starters, what’s been up? Actually, this last week went rather well. I got a callback from a company I applied to and they offered me a job. I read many inspiring blogposts and was well-organized with my studies. Actually, nothing to complain about. And still, I have this constant feeling of underachieving, no matter what I do. Maybe that’s a millennial thing. And yes, it probably sounds very silly and basic, but I think that the trigger was on Instagram. I noticed that one of the accounts I’m following has grown tremendously. Like ten times bigger in only a couple of weeks. And here I am with my tiny account – its numbers have been pretty much the same for years. And so of course I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong. Am I not interacting enough, even though I spend hours liking other people’s pics and blogposts? Or isn’t my content good enough? (Well maybe some of it isn’t exactly la crème de la crème, but I don’t find it horrible, either.) In addition to that, it doesn’t help that new followers are rather lunatic. It honestly baffles me that I can gain and lose a bunch of new followers in  nothing more than a couple of minutes. I mean, if your likes are nothing but strategic, why bother anyway? Personally, I find it dumb to unfollow an account that has fantastic content just to keep my numbers in check. If I was in the mood for charades, I’d plan a game night instead of wasting my time on insta, or I’d watch the movie with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes, I don’t get why I’m making any effort at all. It’s hard, especially if there’s no immediate gratification. On the other hand, maybe that’s what you have to go through before getting to the real deal. Maybe I’ll have more insight in a couple of months. However, I’ll keep you posted.

In the meanwhile, I’m guest-writing for another blog. Check it out right here.

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blogging

Fashion resolutions

I didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but there’s something I’m actually very thankful for:  Black Friday and Cyber Monday happening at the end of the month when my bank account can’t possibly tolerate any extravagances. With all the temptation that’s constantly surrounding me – insta pics of people’s latest purchases and the plethora of promo codes flying around everywhere, I feel like I couldn’t even trust myself if going shopping didn’t mean I’d be pretty much ruined the week after. Really, it’s the only time of the year that I’m actually happy about being constantly broke.

And this year’s been especially hard. Since I’m getting more and more involved with people’s stories on Instagram (even though I never met them irl), I’ve been continually bombarded with posts inviting me to check out this or that brand’s website. And yes, I did crack. But only just a little bit. Six items. (That’s a very small amount for my standard.) All from my favorite store which is H&M. And compared to the Hunger Games re-enacted in some US stores, I feel like I stayed quite reasonable, since I only bought some pants, two dresses, a sweater, a blouse, a scarf and some earmuffs (it’s cold outside!) – all combined on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I didn’t go crazy, and this is why:

I don’t want to accumulate any more stuff

In the last year alone, I’ve moved more than five times. It was such a pain and I realized that I own way too much stuff. And even after I’d gotten rid of two big bags of clothes, I still had way too much. So my new goal is to wear everything my closet contains on a regular basis. And the clothes that I end up not wearing in a year will have to go, eventually.

I want quality stuff

It’s insane how much designer wear can do for you. For me, it’s such a big boost in confidence. I feel like nothing can be compared to the experience of wearing an Isabel Marant dress and feeling absolutely fabulous, just because the cut and the fabric are so on point. Seriously, I thought I was ruling the world, just because my dress spread this vibe for me. And that’s so much more than some generic item from any generic store can do for me. The minute I was wearing the high-end product, I knew I never wanted to downgrade again. So from now on, I’ll try to invest in high quality basics and only get the trendy things at stores like Zara, Mango or H&M. Not only will that make my entire wardrobe be more fashionable, it probably will also have a positive impact on the environment.

I want to live somewhat sustainably

I’m kind of fed up with fast fashion. I feel like I don’t get anything of quality (let alone that the way of manufacturing a low-cost item often, is morally questionable), and of course, there’s no point in trying to sell something you got for only 15 bucks. So instead of continuing to hoard fast-fashion items, I’d like to concentrate on the finer things. I prefer buying less, but making better choices in what I buy – and to keep an item for more than just one or two years.

I want to be excited about something new

Having everything available at all time has kind of made me lose interest in what’s new. Because what’s the point of owning something that’s in vogue for one minute and irrelevant the next? And why would I spend any money on something so futile? Instead, I want to be sure that this new item purchased will not just sit around, waiting for this one occasion I bought it for to happen. I want to feel comfortable choosing whatever I want in the morning (when I’m in a hurry) and still feel confident in the way I look. This (and because of the other reasons above) is why I’ve restricted myself from buying more stuff. The result of this small kind of detox is that I’m actually getting excited again about the few items I do buy. I really missed that.

 

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blogging

“But what about kids?”

As mentioned in an earlier post, I’m working on my networking skills and in order to do so, I went out to some sort of meetup where expats and inpats are given the opportunity to socialize. Even though the event itself wasn’t spectacular and it turned out that I had been over-optimistic hoping to meet fancy folks at an unfancy bar that serves unfancy drinks. The turnout had been much smaller than expected, out of the 40 people who announced their attendance, only a fourth actually showed and I didn’t really click with anyone there. However, I still wanted to make at least some conversation and so I decided to stay and to introduce myself to the people who had just arrived a little belatedly. We had the obvious type of conversation, like “What are you doing for a living?”, “What brought you here?”, etc. and so I talked a little about my experiences abroad and that I’m counting of traveling a LOT once I’m done with my studies. I have to add that most of the attendees were in their late 30s or 40s, therefore the general mindset was a little different from what I’d expected and very different from the people I normally hang out with. And weirdly, none of them had lived abroad (even though the event was designed for expats, first and foremost). And now that you have an idea of the vibe there, here’s a part of the conversation I had that night with a lady who I will call Nosy Josy (NJ) in the following.

Me: blablablablabla…. want to travel … blabla … maybe live in Portugal or in Greece for a year.

NJ (in a shrill, unauthentic voice): How very exciting! And where do you want to live after that?

Me: Don’t know, yet. There are still too many places I haven’t seen, so I really can’t tell.

NJ (now sounding very, very confused): But don’t you want to settle down some day?

Me: I really don’t see myself living in one country for more than five to ten years.

NJ (who’s conception of the world now to crumble): But, WHAT ABOUT KIIIIIDS?

Me: What about them?

NJ (face in a grotesque grimace showing severe confusion): Don’t you want to have kids?

Me: Nope. (And really thinking, “Thank you for your concern, lady I’ve just met five seconds ago, but this is really none of your business.”)

NJ (still grimacing, everything she ever believed in is now shattered): But – WHY?

Me: I just don’t want them. (And really thinking, “And I shouldn’t have to explain my life choices to a nosy stranger.”)

NJ (suddenly, the grimace is gone, there’s an annoying know-it-all expression instead. Her tone shifts from shrill to nauseatingly sweet): Well, you’re still young. I’m sure you will change your mind.

Me: I highly doubt it. (And I also wonder when she expects me to change my mind, when my ovaries start to shrivel?)

With this, I ended the conversation and ignored her for the rest of the night. I could have lectured her on how being a woman does not mean that I absolutely have to make use of my uterus and that the decision to have a child is nothing less selfish than the decision against it. More, having kids may be an immoral decision and there’s tons of great articles on the topic of anti-natalism. I find the one written by David Benatar quite eye-opening, even though I don’t fully agree with everything.

However, if I hadn’t had this kind of discussion for a bazillion times already, I would have probably pointed out to NJ that we’re in 2017 and that she should probably start getting informed about gender issues and be more sensible in her approach and maybe change her mindset. I would have told her that I’m very happy all by myself and that I don’t need to grow a little parasite inside me to feel fulfillment. Besides, in what kind of world would this child live in? One where most natural resources are superseded by some yummy chemicals? One where you can’t leave the house (or the moon) without applying some SPF5000 first?

Also, if I ever change my mind, I’d make sure to have a shitload of money, first because I would like my child to become a spoiled brat who doesn’t have to worry about how to pay for an education. But as for now, I couldn’t even pay for a Tori Burch or a pet, otherwhise I’d probably be the proud mama of three sphynx cats.

I don’t think that people who want kids shouldn’t have them. I also don’t think that people who don’t want kids should have them. But I do think that it’s a very personal decision that should be well-considered. After that no one needs others to comment on it.

That night, I really didn’t feel like continuing my discussion with Nosy Josy. I didn’t think that it would lead to anything but frustration – which would only be on my side, because in my experience, those who ask “But why?” are the ones that are immune to any kind of argument that doesn’t fit their narrow-minded beliefs. I’ve even had the exact same conversation about kids with one of my mom’s friends who’s in her 50s. She herself lives alone, has no kids and claims that she never wanted them. Some of my mom’s other friends, also in their 50s, don’t have kids, but did want them. They just didn’t find the right guy to make them, didn’t want to be single moms and also wanted to make them in the traditional way. And I get the same shitty talk from ALL of them. Trying to make them see my point of view and accepting it (they don’t even have to share it) is just tiring and energy-draining. It’s like trying to make a point in a comment on Facebook. Therefore, I’m saving my energy and think about how much I will enjoy a lifetime of self-pampering instead of buying Pampers.

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beauty, Fashion

My makeup routine

I usually don’t write about my morning or beauty routine and also don’t give tips on what kind of products to buy. First, because I’m a student living on a budget, therefore I don’t own stuff from cool brands, at least not as much that would justify writing about it. (Btw, I’m not getting paid by anyone to write about makeup, this is not an ad.) Second, because there are already so many great beauty blogs. And third, because I’m a very lazy person. Which means that most of the time, I just can’t be bothered with makeup and I also really don’t care if the sight of my transparent skin and the well visible rings under my eyes are frightening or even unappealing to impressible fellow beings.

Nevertheless, there are days where I want to be pretty and look as shiny and sparkly as a Disney princess. That’s when I use my magical makeup palette.

However, since I neither want to stress my skin too much nor clog my pores, I usually just accentuate my eyes and maybe my lips. (Of course, Halloween is a total exception of this rule.) I’m a big fan of smokey eyes and for a day makeup, I like to go with light brown tones and highlights. (Sephora has an awesome eye shadow palette that includes very light but also darker tones, it’s the one that I use the most. It’s also my favorite.) Then, as every single women’s magazine pointed out this year, brows are super important since they give structure and can totally change someone’s look. I actually don’t do much with mine. I already like how they’re shaped and never had a professional do them, I just don’t find it necessary for myself. What I do though is brush them into form and depending on the kind of other makeup I’m wearing that day, I’ll maybe fill them out a little (!) with a waterproof brow liner in the same tone.

Another thing I do even when going without makeup is curbing my lashes. You’ve probably heard this over a million times, but lashes that are well-shaped to make you look more awake and they also seem a little longer. Add mascara to that – I usually do like seven layers – and wahou! no need for fake lashes. I also like to draw out the small line under my upper lash line with a black kohl. Gives more depth and makes lashes look endlessly long.

Before I move on to my lips, I put on highlighter. I just loooove highlighter, it immediately makes me look fresh and well-rested and of course, puts some sparkle on my skin. I basically put it everywhere possible without looking like The Tin Man, so on my cheekbones, inner eye thingy (I’m sure there’s a professional term for that, but I’d need to look it up), bridge of the nose and cupid’s bow. On my makeup free days, swapping highlighter for coconut oil or lip balm does the trick as well. You can even use it instead of mascara. (Of course, the effect isn’t the same, but it helps to accentuate a little.) And since I’m totally addicted to lip balm, I always carry one in my bag.

Besides lip balm, I like to wear really dark lipstick. Unfortunately though, it makes my lips look even smaller than they already are – think Kylie Jenner before the procedures she denies. Therefore, I’m not using dark colors too often. (Besides, I somehow manage to have lipstick smeared somewhere else in my face where it doesn’t belong, it’s even worse when I’m wearing colored lip gloss.) This is why I decided to try out a lip plumper. I got mine from Too Faced, it’s called Lip Injection Extreme, and I have to say, it really lives up to the name. Short after applying it, there was a little tingling, nothing bad, more like the sensation that bubbly leaves on your lips. A few seconds later, I could already see that my lips were fuller. After a few days of using the lip plumper regularly, it’s now one of my favorite products. I only wish the effect would last a little longer. (I haven’t timed it, but I think it lasts for around an hour.)

And here you go, this is my complete makeup routine. When I just stick to the simple things and don’t use eye shadow, it only takes like 5 minutes to get ready.

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blogging

Networking

The time of the year hasn’t arrived quite yet, but I already have my first resolution for next year. And yes, you guessed it from the title, it’s networking.

Now that I’m working on the blog again, and that I want to make it better this time. And so I’m trying to get as much advice as possible. Which brings me to networking.

Constantly mentioned in all sorts of publications, networking probably is THE skill to have and of utmost importance for a career. And sure, it’s common knowledge that good contacts can be of very big help. In some cases, the people you surround yourself with may even make or break your career. However, I’ve not yet found an article that explains exactly how to network. I mean an article that’s actually helpful and also addresses things like feeling super awkward when introducing yourself to people in order to promote your business. Because that’s how I feel.

This week was the first time I met with another blogger. I got her contact info from an interview I read and checked out her insta as well as her blog, of course. I really like her blog and was wondering if she could give me some advice. And so I reached out to her.

And boy did I feel weird. Not only that I generally feel like an impostor when I mention that I have a blog (it’s so tiny), but I couldn’t imagine meeting someone in order to basically talk business, especially when I’m just “greedily” ask for advice without being able to offer something measurable in return. And of course, I really don’t wanna be that person who creepily chats up total strangers. Besides, friends and family members have pointed out that I’m not always showing the best sense of tact. So as you see, there was a lot to overthink and freak out about. However, there was no way I’d blow this opportunity. Besides, you always have to start from somewhere, right?

As it turned out, me freaking out pre-meeting was totally unnecessary. There was no awkwardness at all. It was a great exchange and I also got lots of very helpful information and advice. And so after this first, positive experience, I think that I should work on becoming a pro in networking. Especially because if you want something, you have to ask.

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blogging, lifestyle, sex, social media, writing

More sex stuff – seems to become a theme

As mentioned in my previous post, I have to come up with a funny sex Q&A that may be amusing to read for my mom’s generation. As it turns out, Google gives the best replies, of course. But before I get into that (in a following post) I’d love to discuss articles I found on WikiHow, the website that never lets you down when in need of getting information (serious or not) and a good laugh while being at it, and always provides content that’s perfect for procrastination – because adult life sucks.

For those who don’t know, I’m a big fan of Rhett and Link, and since they’ve referred to wikiHow on several occasions, I thought I should check it inorder to find inspiration myself. While I didn’t find an article about how to write a sex Q&A for 50-year-olds, I found two other great articles, one about How to send dirty texts and one about How to have phone sex. I would also recommend How to say no to sex and How to behave after sex, both great reads.

As for How to send dirty texts, it suggests to test the waters before going all the way and being too explicit. See, I think that’s great advice. I actually wish that more guys would take that into consideration. Instead, when I do online dating and I decide to give a guy my number, I have a 50 percent chance of receiving an unsolicited dickpick. The second advice on wikiHow is starting a conversation that has a “sexual undertone”, but not just like What’s up. However, in reality, What’s up most often is the exactly the line that comes with the dick pick. Which makes me wonder, how on earth can anyone misread wikiHow’s foolproof introductions??? Especially when the article even tells you what to text exactly, in order to get to the point where it’s going well, meaning “If the dirty texting is going in the right direction, then you and your texting partner may slowly be removing your clothes and starting to touch yourselves.”

This line makes me think of the movie “Alfie”. There’s this scene where Sienna Miller is rubbing the phone to an armchair claiming she was rubbing it somewhere else. Of course, she’s not wearing sexy lingerie in this scene. Which brings me to the next article: How to have phone sex. According to wikiHow, no matter what the moment or the setting is, sexy lingerie or not, “don’t […] get distracted from your sexy goal” and keep in mind that “A low, soft tone of voice or heavy breathing can help set the mood”. Well, I’d say that would make you seem like a creepy stalker, or psychopath, or both, but what do I know?

However, it seems like this is the way you get it started and which will lead to the point where each party “is […] getting bolder with [their] descriptions”, which will then be followed by masturbation and an optional(!) orgasm. Dialing back on the article about How to send dirty texts, I just love the image that, below the subheading “Finishing strong”, accompanies the mention of optional orgasm – the image of a popping champagne bottle.

However, I think there may be at least some information I will be able to use for my article. And if not, at least it’s been useful to my entertainment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS: Just for the record, I think it’s great that there’s places where people can get advice. And after a little bit of fine tuning, it would be even greater.

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